EDUCATION: Fire Up the Virtual Bunsen Burner

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Science  07 Jan 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5706, pp. 21
DOI: 10.1126/science.307.5706.21b

Demonstrating chemical reactions in class is a great way to spark students' interest—assuming the procedures work, everyone can see the lab bench, and nobody gets hurt. An alternative that eliminates these potential problems is this library of some 200 experiments for undergraduate labs from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. You can search the experiment list by topic, keyword, or element to find everything from instructions for identifying metals by burning them to the synthesis of nylon. Movies of the reactions highlight important chemical transformations. Other features include a synopsis of the reaction, still photos of stages in the procedure, safety precautions, and references. Although some descriptions are in German, most experiments include English translations.

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